Is premium DNS worth the cost?

Premium DNS is another one of those buzzwords like “cloud hosting” that isn’t exactly a clearly defined service across all providers. However across all those that provide a premium DNS services there’s a few qualities that are fairly consistent:

  • Locations: There are multiple servers in datacentres around the world that host your DNS records and which are ready to respond to DNS queries such that the response time is super low no matter who is attempting to reach your services. This methodology is similar to edge servers and how most CDNs are expected to operate (these days edge servers and CDNs are similar enough to be synonyms).
  • Speed: They respond faster than other DNS services because of their close proximity to users. But be mindful of just how much of a difference this means. In most cases it’s a difference of between 20ms and 100ms faster, which is so insignificant it might not be relevant for you. Furthermore once a request is made to a DNS server, the user’s computer, router, and ISP will all save the result for anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, meaning all subsequent queries are the same speed regardless of whether you’re using a premium DNS provider or not. (This is why propagation takes 24-48 hours instead of being immediate)
  • Uptime: They can frequently respond even when other services or other parts of their network are down because they have so many servers around the globe and because the service operates independently to your other domain-related services. If our server goes down, those DNS services will still be running, still pointing to mail services and whatever other 3rd party services you use with your domain. Therefore, if your mail and other services are not also hosted on your web hosting plan, then this ensures mail continues to operate even if your website goes down.

Premium DNS is, in many ways, simply another way of saying a third-party cloud-based DNS system. Instead of having either registrar level DNS or web host level DNS, it uses another company’s servers to handle your DNS.

One downside of Premium DNS: you have to use an external service to manage your DNS records and you will need to create records manually for every subdomain you add to your hosting plan.

Because we stand by the reliability of our web hosting services, and because DNS hosting is part and parcel with our web hosting, our DNS hosting uptime is also excellent, and as such we haven’t found a premium DNS service to be necessary. We have been slowly working on a backup DNS service for some time now, which solves the uptime component above, however there is no release time-frame for this service.

Some people feel better using Premium DNS, and there’s lots of places more than happy to part them with their money if that’s the case. Our servers are reliable, with minimal downtime, and the cached nature of the DNS system is there in the event that DNS services do stall for a time.

About Allen Pooley

Allen is a self professed geek and technology lover. He's always playing with one of his various websites, and loves helping customers with theirs. He can often be found with a coffee (light roast, please) in his hand and a smile on his face... or trapped under a pile of yarn.

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